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You are in: › KnowledgeReptiles › Care sheet- how do I look after a Bearded dragon?
Care sheet- how do I look after a Bearded dragon?

Common Name: - Bearded Dragon
Latin Name: - Pogona Vitticeps
Origin: - Australian Deserts and Savannahs
Adult Size: - 18 - 24”
Life Span: - 10 – 15 Years

Bearded Dragons are great lizards for the beginner. They are easy to care for and are very friendly, often becoming so tame that they will sit on your shoulder. They are quick growers and will often be fully grown within a year.

Bearded Dragons do get to a large size so they do need a large vivarium. A size of around 48 x 18 x 18” will be the smallest that an adult beardie can be housed in. Juveniles can be housed in smaller vivariums but can be put in the adult size as they do grow quickly and are fully grown at 2 years.

As they come from desert areas sand substrates look more natural. Calci sand has long been the favourite sand among lizard keepers as it is more easily digested then other sand substrates if ingested. However, if their diet is lacking in calcium, many reptiles end up eating the sand to gain their precious calcium. This in turn will cause gut impaction. To avoid this, make sure they have a good quality calcium supplement dusted over their food daily when young and weekly once adult. Gravid (pregnant) females also need a high amount of calcium in their diets.

Walnut grit or walnut sand looks like sand so it is a great substrate. Play sand is also suitable. Chipsi mais is also very good bedding especially for babies. Any sand substrate used can cause gut impaction if accidentally swallowed so if you observe your dragon eating their bedding, remove it and put them on a larger substrate that they cannot eat or on cage carpet. No sand type substrates are good for baby Beardies, the best bedding for young and baby dragons is Chipsi mais. Climbing branches should also be supplied as well as hides and rocks, avoid slate as it can heat up to very high temperatures and can burn your lizard.

Heat and Light:
Bearded dragons need 24-hour heat and 10 – 12 hours of UV light. All reptiles need a cool end and a hot end of the vivarium as they are cold blooded and need to thermo regulate their body temperatures. They do this by moving to the hot end to warm up and the cool end to cool down. If they cannot do this, they will become stressed which will lead to health problems.

To reach the desired temperature a heat source should be placed at the hot end. This needs to be attached to a thermostat, which will stop it from heating the cage too much and will turn the light off to cool the cage down. A heat bulb is a good choice for a beardie as they associate light with heat so will bask under the light. An infra red or ceramic heater should be used for night time heating. Heat mats should be avoided as bearded dragons sense heat from above so can burn themselves on heat mats as they heat from below.

A 10.0 UV light is essential for a healthy bearded dragon as it provides them with ‘sun light’, which gives them a regular photoperiod, and it also gives them Vitamin D3. UV tubes should be replaced every 12 months as after this they loose efficiency. The UV bulb needs to be
placed 12” away from the dragon in order for it to benefit from the light.

The vivarium needs to be heated to 80 – 85*F
(27 – 29*C) on the cool end with a basking
temperature of 95 – 110*F (35 – 43*C). There should be a night time drop of 10 – 12*F.

Food and Water:
As bearded dragons are Omnivores, they need both meat and vegetables in their diet. A bowl of fresh vegetables should be given daily; this should be dusted in a vitamin and mineral supplement such as Nutrabol, VGF (Veggie Growth Formula) or VMF (Veggie Maintenance Formula).

Vegetables make up a large part of the Bearded Dragons diet. When they are babies it makes up ¼ of their diet yet when they are adult it makes up ¾. The rest of their diet is made up of meat. This includes Crickets, Hoppers or Locusts, Mealworms, Morios and the occasional Pinkie and Waxworms. Mealworms should be avoided when they are young as they contain Chitilin, which is hard for your Dragon to digest.

Suitable Vegetables include: -
Artichoke, Arugula, Asparagus, Basil, Broccoli, Broad Beans, Cabbage, Cantaloupe, Cauliflower, Chickweed, Chicory, Chives, Clover, Collard Greens, Corn, Courgette, Cucumber, Dandelion, Eggplant, Endive ,Escarole, Fennel, Green Beans, Kale, Leeks, Mint, Mulberry Leaves, Mustard Greens, Pansies, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Radicchio.Red Pepper, Root Vegetables, Rosemary, Squashes, Swiss Chard, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potato (small quantities),Turnip Greens, Thyme, Watercress

Any foods high in Vitamin A should only be given in small amounts such as Carrot. All foods given should be sliced or grated into manageable pieces to avoid choking. Extra vitamins and minerals should be dusted over the food to help keep your dragon healthy and their bones strong. You can purchase these supplements from us.

Fruit can be given once or twice a week. These include: -
Apple, Banana, Blueberries, Green Grapes, Guava, Kiwi, Mango, Melon, Passion fruit, ,Pear, Peach, Pumpkin, Strawberries, Tomato, Watermelon, Zucchini

Citrus fruits and Grapefruit should be avoided. Fresh drinking water should always be made available.

Foods that are Poisonous to your Dragon include:-
Avocado Leaves, Bird of Paradise, Caladium, Callalilly, Carnation Chinese Lantern, Christmas Cactus, Crysanthenmum, Clematis, Common Privet, Daisy, English Ivy, Eucalyptus, Foxglove, Hemlock, Iris, Iceberg Lettuce, Jasmine, Larkspur, Lily of the Valley, Mistletoe, Morning Glory, Oak, Peach (Leaves and Pit), Peony, Periwinkle, Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, Potato (Leaves), Rhododendron, Rhubarb, Sage, Snap Dragon, Sweet Potato (large quantities), Sweet Pea, Tomato (Leaves), Tulip, Walnut, Wisteria, Yew

You should spray inside your dragons’ vivarium daily, round the sides, plants, branches and hides. You should also spray the dragons face. They will then lick their lips dry and drink the droplets off the walls.

A water bowl should be supplied, your beardie will not drink out of it as they do not tend to drink from still water but will bathe in it instead. This water will need to be changed daily as they tend to defecate in their water.

Please note that this care sheet is for your basic husbandry knowledge, further reading is always recommended.

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